Winnipeg landlord warns of online rental scam
Published Tuesday, March 29, 2016 3:23PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 29, 2016 6:00PM CST
A Winnipeg landlord wants to warn tenants about an internet rental scam.
Brenda Gorlick's rental property in East Kildonan recently became the target of scammers.
Gorlick, who's the real owner, said she posted ads to rent out her three bedroom bungalow on Craigslist, Kijiji and RentBoard.ca.
Gorlick said about four weeks ago, someone who wanted to rent the place showed up to the house after seeing a fraudulent ad posted online.
“And they said ‘we understand that the property was supposed to be vacant and that it was advertised on Craigslist for $800 month’,” said Gorlick. “Our renter actually contacted me, and then she passed on the name and number of the person who had been scammed.”
The actual monthly rent is $1600.
“Apparently they had been advertising this property out of Maine in the States, and in order for them to complete the process, they would have had to send a damage deposit to Maine.”
Gorlick said she reported the fraudulent ad to Craigslist, but she hasn’t heard back from anyone who runs the website.
“They had apparently gleaned all of our pictures off the website, and taken ownership of the property as if it was their own.”
Gorlick said the previous tenants were still living in the house, and that the property had already been rented to new tenants who will take possession in April.
The Winnipeg Police Service hasn’t received any complaints about Gorlick’s home specifically, but Constable Rob Carver said scams like this are common.
“A rental scam is somebody gets a picture of a nice place, posts it and says ‘you can rent my house,’” said Const. Carver. “Unfortunately they don’t own the house and the house may not even be where it’s purported to be.”
Const. Carver said it’s a good idea to do a Google search of the property and make sure the address checks out. He also suggests checking to see if the property has been rented before and check if it’s the same landlord renting it out.
Const. Carver added prospective tenants should contact the management company or landlord, and meet face-to-face.